I had not seen Fr. Vic Robles for maybe 10 or so years. I was a little girl the last time I saw him.
After my mother passed away, I found a way to contact him to invite him to her funeral. I knew he was important to my mother. I offered to pay his ticket so he could pay his respects. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it because he was tied up in Asia.
Later that summer, I had decided to visit orphanages in Asia. At that time, I had no idea that Fr. Vic made his way to the US. My mom’s friend called me out of the blue to say, Fr. Vic is here. And I thought, “Oh… okay.” I told her I was looking up orphanages to visit in Thailand. Then she says, “Fr. Vic may know some in the Philippines.” She called me a few days later and said, Fr. Vic wants to visit you in NYC.
I was really surprised. He went out of his way to visit me at NYC to give me a mass card for my mom and a statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague. It was a huge gesture for him to go out of his way to spend an afternoon with me in NYC. He had no reason to be there and he had a tight schedule. But he felt he had to see me and give me the mass card to show respect towards my mother.
We met for lunch in Bryant Park on the rooftop grill, and he explained about Bethlehem House of Bread. He eventually convinced me to visit the Philippines.
When I arrived in the Philippines a month later, one of the first sights he took me to was a church. He then explained to me that it was not just any church.
When I was young (I never paid attention to it), my mother was fundraising heavily for Fr. Vic. She believed in him and wanted to help him raise as much money as possible for a church which didn’t exist, in a town, she had never been to…
So, here I was, standing on the grounds of a HUGE church, that my own mother helped built.
It was pretty amazing.
The church is the Divine Mercy Church. It’s a church in the middle of NO WHERE in the provinces.
It was interesting to me how this man my mother helped, led me back to my roots in the Philippines 10 years later. I did not understand or appreciate some of the things my mom did when I was younger. But after my mom passed away, I felt that my visit to the Philippines brought me closer to her.
And that was how the children at Bethlehem orphanage found me, in the little province of Bulacan.
Submitted by Maya Rowencak.